Zerg Rush Onto Eurogamer

By Alec Meer on February 25th, 2010 at 2:44 pm.

As in, Eurogamer have just posted my hands-on preview of my time in the Starcraft 2 beta to date. In that piece, I’m two days on from the stuff we were talking about in the chat-o-fight here earlier this week, so I’ve gotten to grips with the game a fair bit more, even if I’m still pretty rubbish. I sure have spent a lot of time comparing build queues post-match, though. The preview? Oh, it’s here, and it includes things like this:

I could see exactly what I had to do, the sustained clicking and planning, and how quickly I’d need to do it. It was eminently possible. But I lacked the will. I was weak, I was feeble, and I succumbed to the tiredness I felt when I thought about the physical and mental exertion involved. It was the point where your legs start to burn when you’re out jogging; do you listen to the invisible PE teacher screaming at you in your head and push on, or do you give up and go buy some Monster Munch and a Fanta from the corner shop?

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128 Comments »

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  1. Sjors says:

    The more I read about it the less I want to play it really. It sounds like a clickathon.

    • Warduke says:

      I’m feeling the same way as Sjors above. I’m finding that my initial interest is fading pretty quickly as I read more about what people are experiencing in the beta.

    • jsdn says:

      That’s exactly how the first Starcraft is. Hell, almost every single RTS game made as well. It would seem you just don’t like strategic multiplayer RTS, Alec. That’s why people play DOTA and tower defense.

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      Arathain says:

      Right. Every online RTS is a clickathon. Your attention is the primary resource, always. The player who is able to just do more is far more likely to win. What distinguishes games from each other is not how many clicks you can make, but what you’re doing with those clicks.

      Speaking as someone who doesn’t really enjoy the multitasking nature of multiplayer RTSs (as well as having no talent for them, obviously), I’ve been enjoying League of Legends a lot. Having only one unit to worry about rather takes the stress out of the micro, and it becomes quite a strategic, cerebral game, albeit with plenty of tension and action moments.

    • Azradesh says:

      Don’t forget about the single player and the mods :)

      You don’t have to play the multiplayer like that. I doubt I will be much apart from matches with friends and such.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Everything I’ve seen… It’s Starcraft. In typical Blizz fashion they’ve gone with what they know and not really pushed the genre or anything.

      And to be honest, I’d rather play the original.

    • PHeMoX says:

      They’re going the Fifa and Need for Speed road with their game development. It will look nicer, it will feel new, but ultimately it really isn’t and you’re paying for very much the same old same old.

      I hope Diablo III will be any good, but I fear the World of Warcraft happy color scheme is going to ruin it before I have even started playing.

    • Katsumoto says:

      Chips??

    • Katsumoto says:

      Wow, reply fail. Though I think “chips???” took on a whole new meaning where it decided to place it.

  2. Hunam says:

    I had some monster munch for lunch. Pickled Onion. Fucking owned.

    • Nick says:

      I’m going to have some pickled onion monster munch RIGHT NOW!

      I like that they brought the old monsters back, but did the bags used to be bigger and have more in them, or was I just smaller?

      Er.. yeah.. SC2 then. Um. Nothing compares to it apart from monster munch.

    • Flameberge says:

      Flaming Hot > Pickled Onion.

      Behold the Truth.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Nothing compares to pickled onion. I don’t eat them anymore because of the msg and being a fat bastard.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Actually space rangers are only 10p… Fuck monster munch.

    • Hunam says:

      Space Rangers are awesome but these days you can’t actually make the cars anymore! I think they cheap out on the wheels so they don’t fit :|

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      Stense says:

      Curses. I so nearly got a pack of the Monster munch today. Now I rue that decision. Rue it I say!

    • unaco says:

      @Hunam’s 2nd Post.

      Are you not thinking about Transforma-Snacks? Last I checked Space-Raiders (not Rangers) were just an Area51 ‘Grey-Type’ Alien face shape. Transforma-Snacks have the ‘Wheels’ & ‘Body’ shapes, and a poor ratio between the two. I haven’t really eaten Space-Raiders since they stopped the ‘Astra and the Space Pirates’ story line, and was never a fan of Transforma-Snacks… and I’ve never eaten a snack called Space Rangers… so you may be talking about a food-stuff hitherto unknown to myself.

    • terry says:

      Transform-a-Snack are the tomato ones, IIRC? Space Raiders are pickled onion and used to have little pulp sci-fi comics on the back (lamentably lost for some sort of “alien fact file” tosh last time I looked).

      Both pale in comparison to the mighty Burton’s Fish and Chip snack biscuits however :P

    • Heliocentric says:

      I just bought and ate a pack of (golden wonder’s) transform-a-snack and i can confirm that its them you make cars out of. They were pickled onion, and as i just read on the back? No msg! Bonus

    • unaco says:

      @Terry

      Transforma-Snacks apparently come in the following flavours (from their w’site): Spicy, Pickled Onion, Cheese & Onion, Flamin’Hot, Saucy BBQ & Beef.
      Space Raiders also come in a variety of flavours, including Spicy (spicy what is anyone’s guess), Salt&Vinegar, Beef, and, of course, Pickled Onion. Pickled Onion where my favourite… but a combination of 1xBeef, 2xPickled Onion from the tuckshop at school always felt like a balanced meal of ‘meat and 2 veg’.

    • terry says:

      Whoa, I have never seen half of those :-O I stand corrected. I have tried Spicy and found them reminiscent of Nice N Spicy NikNaks. Which are a love/hate sort of thing, I guess.

      Edit: Is now very hungry.

    • disperse says:

      England clearly has the best junk food.

    • Rinox says:

      I can honestly say that I have no idea what all this preceding gibberish is all about. Crazy Brits.

    • LintMan says:

      @disperse: I was thinking the exact same thing.

    • Hunam says:

      I was thinking about transformer snacks and I did mean space raiders! People were talking about Space Rangers 2 the other day and it got all mashed up in the old noggin!

    • PHeMoX says:

      Wait, you guys are talking about chips? How about changing the subject to pizza or beer instead while you guys are at it? LOL!

      As for StarCraft 2. Seeing is believing. They better put out a good demo or else I’m going to stick with Supreme Commander 2 for a long time.

    • mejobloggs says:

      ????????????????????????????????

    • Howl says:

      It really doesn’t get much better than pickled onion Monster Munch, tbh.

    • Lemon scented apocalypse says:

      Holy fuck I miss Monstermunch.
      American junkfood is laklustre at best.
      I would sell the entire west coast for a double-decker or a crunchie

    • Lemon scented apocalypse says:

      Oh, and one (hyphened) word:

      POM-BEARS

      Oh yeah. I went there.

  3. Flameberge says:

    I agree entirely with your conclusion. Yes it’s great that games like this exist, that know exactly what they’re for, and exactly how to make their players happy. That in turn, does mean that it will alienate a large number of potential players – from multiplayer at any rate. That is not a bad thing, just a fact. I know I would hate Starcraft 2, but there are plenty of people out there to whom what you have described sounds like some sort of click-based, hyper-erotic wet dream.

    • Jad says:

      Yeah its kind of like ArmA or Quake 3 in the FPS world. Or various hardcore old-school indie RPGs. Or rogue-likes.

      Niche, unforgiving, for the fans. Most may not like those types of games, but you really can’t begrudge them their existence.

      I think most of us have a least one game, or one genre, which would be considered niche and alienating and ultra-hardcore. The kind of games that we don’t expect most to be able to appreciate, and we understand that. Our other tastes may run fairly mainstream, but we still have this one dark secret. For me its micromanagementy spreadsheets-in-space-style 4X games. For others it may be bullet-hell shoot-em-ups or grindtastic MMOs or obscure JRPGs or gearhead racing sims.

      Or clickfest old-school RTSes.

    • DrazharLn says:

      I don’t think this is really true. The number and quality of maps produced for Warcraft III was astonishing. Some of my fondest gaming memories are of playing those mods.

      I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into wc3 and I don’t think that more than 10 were on the unmodded game.

      Blizzard are promising much better modding tools this time and I expect a second coming of crazy gaming.

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      drewski says:

      Or foot-to-ball management simulators [/slightly ashamed]

  4. Alphabet says:

    I can see the first of these selling well, and parts two and three not selling well. I really think gaming has moved on, and while SC2 will work for those who love this for what it is and those who love Blizzard’s narratives, it won’t make any new converts. (Mind you, I’ve always found their storytelling to be childish in the extreme, and that’s never hurt their sales…)

    • Xocrates says:

      “childish in the extreme” compared to what? I’ve played many games with worse stories and few with better, particularly in RTS. Given how low the videogame storytelling standard is, theirs is comparatively fairly decent.

    • Azradesh says:

      Funny, I’d say the first Starcraft to be one of my top ten game narratives, the Warcraft series has always been a bit more tongue in cheek though.

  5. SturmCRF says:

    I loved the original Starcraft, despite never beating the final Terran mission or making it more than a couple of missions into the other campaigns. The storyline and presentation are so incredibly well done that it overrides the fact that I don’t actually like RTS, and I hope this is the same.

    I’ll play it on Easy and see how far that takes me, the masochists and Koreans are welcome to their multi player. I’ll never understand the mindset of someone who can be presented with an immaculately made box of toy soldiers like this and desire nothing more than to prove that they’re better at playing with them than other people.

  6. VHATI says:

    everytime i see gameplay, i think how 1990’s it looks in gameplay and graphics.

    ill stick with dow 2.

  7. V. Tchitcherine. says:

    Look I fully understand the difficulty and potentiality for skill that this game allows and requires, but your entire hands-on seems like a gripe about the aptitude needed and the learning curve of the game. I mean it says virtually nothing about the differences between the sequel and the original, the additions, the refinements, etc.

    I mean all I’ve been able to essentially discern and the main thrust of the article is that there are better people than you playing the beta and the lamentable nature of that fact due to the potentialities for actions and micro-management allowed by the design.

    I don’t mean to sound particularly critical in this comment but I mean really; you spend three pages reiterating the existential horror and exhaustion of your experience cast as an insurmountable disparity between yourself and learned players of the beta. Furthermore are they any match-making systems in this fancy-pants Battle.net that seek to ameliorate this problem or will be implemented in patches or at retail?

    Benders.

    • Severian says:

      Well, to be fair to Alex, this was only a preview and the beta is multiplayer only, so it’s to be expected that his impressions would largely focus on that particular experience. I’m sure that further previews down the line and eventually reviews will cover those other issues which you, appropriately, mention.

    • Severian says:

      Ale(c), sorry, not Alex. Typo, i swear. Where’s my edit button! So mysterious and unpredictable…

    • Nick says:

      Pssst, its Alec.

      (edit) Well, ok then.

      Anyway, he was giving an account of his experience as he experienced it.. he can’t do much more than that in the context. He even said it was a good thing, rather than it being a gripe.

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      Arathain says:

      “I mean it says virtually nothing about the differences between the sequel and the original, the additions, the refinements, etc.”

      I think far too many previews are written as feature lists. I don’t need that stuff. I can get it from the offical website if I want. Reviews, when they come out, will all cover that stuff extensively. Alec’s preview is far more useful to me at this stage, giving me a solid impression of what its like to play the game, so I can decide, in advance, if this sort of thing might be worth breaking open my penny jar for.

    • V. Tchitcherine. says:

      To Arathain & Nick.

      I did not hope to cultivate a dichotomy of games analysis between a sterile feature-list or a subjective, vociferous jeremiad laced with swear-laden misanthropy. Actually I would like the latter. But my central complaint if I have to reiterate it so it’s not missed, is not that he was negative about the game -that’s perfectly fine, I’m in vastly in favour of critical rather than servile journalism in all forms- is that there’s no insight in the entire article other than the fact the game is difficult. AND?

    • Alec Meer says:

      Sorry it wasn’t to your tastes, sir – but while it is a piece that focuses on my experience of joining the beta now rather than a wikilike breakdown of exactly what’s in it and the changes from SC1, there’s more in there than you’re giving it credit for. There’s a (partial) match report, there’s talk about the new B-net and why it’s important, there’s talk about /how/ to improve at this initially daunting thing. Do keep in mind, however, that neither RPS or EG are widely read by the Starcraft community. I’m talking to the people who haven’t grown up with it in their blood, and the people interested in it because Blizzard is so well known in the wake of WoW. The SC fansites will be doing a perfectly good of providing painstaking detail for the veterans.

      And, frankly, if you’ve read it as negative, you’ve read it wrong.

    • halftthought says:

      Theirs a rather well thought out matching system, but it simply doesn’t work in a beta with a player pool of 3000 players, who are on the antithetical ends of the skill spectrum, half having no idea how to play starcraft, the others being longtime pros who went to blizzcon or bought a key or are so good blizzard just gave them a key for being good.

  8. terry says:

    I agree with the article – though my experience with SC is limited to the single player, a couple of LAN games and watching that hectic yabbering Korean channel where the demigods play, and that’s quite as close as I’d like to get to the game. Just watching ten minutes of some guy get increasingly red-faced and flustered as he realises the magnitude of exactly how screwed he is and finally bursting into tears as the round ends made me realise SC appeals to a certain sort of temperament that can deal with that shit. More power to you if its you, it just ain’t me.

  9. yaster says:

    Where does this screenshot comes from. It absolutely doesn’t look like any other I’ve seen from the game. It’s more grim and detailed. Quiet beautiful.

  10. Calabi says:

    I’ve played battleforge for a bit and I cant even handle that, you have next to no base building but still I’m all over the place clicking like mad trying to respond to this enemy thats attacking from all over the place. I cant enjoy the game at all, I can imagine this game is ten times that.

  11. James says:

    I can’t speak for what qualifies as being “best”, but you should browse the average US gas station’s variety of cheap snack items before you make any final decisions.

    We take lack of health to new levels.

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      Arathain says:

      US snack food is weak, compared to the horrible wonders the British can manage with a corn puff. Although I like that I can always get jerky.

  12. Volomon says:

    It is a click a thon in fact, the Champions of SC are rated by KeyStrokes they not only click by they know all the short cuts. The best can manage up to and beyond 400 keystrokes per minute.

    What are they even pressing? When I play SC I don’t ever touch the keyboard except to move the screen around, so of course I always get owned. There is way to much MICRO managing in SC, but that shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying it any less.

  13. Dain says:

    I now prefer my strategy games with less clicking, less base building, less resource collecting and a lot more fighting.

    So as much as I did enjoy the original, I’ll pass.

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    Lambchops says:

    You know I didn’t even enjoy first Starcraft single player. i only got it after people kept going on about how brilliant it was but I never took to it. Between Starcraft and one of the early Command and Conquers I’ve been turned off real time strategy games to the point I’ve never actually tried another one. I can’t believe I spent so long lumping turn based games in with them though and assuming I disliked the entire strategy genre. That made me miss out on some quality Civilization time!

  15. Kurt Lennon says:

    Don’t worry guys… Keep whining and Bobby Kotick will panic and make sure Starcraft 2 is just as watered down, bland and effortless as all the other garbage that’s released these days.

    Sad what the last 10 years has done to gaming.

    • deuterium. says:

      Depressing, isn’t it.

    • Furniture Merchant says:

      Yes, nothing good has come out since Starcraft in 1999, absolutely nothing good at all.

      PS: This is me being sarcastic.

    • Kurt Lennon says:

      @Furniture Merchant

      You can’t realistically deny that there’s been a huge downward trend in the challenge provided by the vast majority of games over the last decade due to people wanting maximum reward for minimal effort.

      No need to be childishly pedantic and act like I was saying no good games have come out since Starcraft 2, because I obviously wasn’t. ;)

    • Severian says:

      You can’t realistically deny that there’s been a huge downward trend in the challenge provided by the vast majority of games over the last decade due to people wanting maximum reward for minimal effort.

      well, i deny it. far too generalized a statement to be meaningful, i’m afraid.

    • Dain says:

      So every strategy game which has tried to get away from base building and clickclickclick and at least give the illusion of units mattering and requiring more thought than simple hard counters and clickclickclick micro managing occasionally is dumbed down?

      I’ll take dumbed down then.

    • halftthought says:

      I don’t understand how you could possibly argue that it isn’t dumbed down. If it wasn’t less complex a game, explain to me why they have no competitive scene around them? Explain to me why counterstrike is a viable competitive game, but Modern Warfare 2 is not? Why SC1 and WC3 are viable competitive games (WC3 which did follow most of your suggestions), but DoW, CC (later ones) or CoH are regarded as jokes in the competitive community. Their has to be some factor involved. Please, tell me what that factor is. And it isn’t balance, starcraft was no more balanced when it came out then any of those other RTS’s that failed.

    • Psychopomp says:

      It has nothing to do with complexity, quality, or depth, it has to do with trying to get a professional football player to try and go pro in a brand spanking new sport.

    • Nesetalis says:

      You are just wrong here.
      A new sport forms its own competitive players, it doesn’t drag in football players and force them to play the game.

      With that in mind, no competition formed in the DoW field, nor MWII, nor many of the other games that have been released over the last 10 years.

      there /have/ been some hard games, but I havnt played a hard competitive multiplayer game that wasnt made by blizzard in ages. (Debatably WoW’s PVP is fairly hard and very very competitive, WC3 is also)

      So yes, there has been a dumbing down, or more aptly an opening to the masses. When you make a game you make a choice, you build it for a group of people. Most games these days have been built for the casual gamer, the one who picks it up for 1-2 hours a week. They dont have time to get good at a game, they have work to do and families to care for. The casual gamer group is also much larger than other prospective buyers so its a smart move for the industry.

      The games are dumbed down in general, and its good to see blizzard catering to the competitive gamers as well as the casual gamers. And by the way, this beta obviously only tests the competitive side of it, i’m sure they have the casual gamer side of it down pat (since blizzard employees only have time to be casual gamers since you know, they have to BUILD the game :P)

      there is nothing inherently wrong with building a game for the casual gamer or the competitive gamer, but there is something wrong with assuming SC2 is just going to be competitive… Did none of you play SC1? it had as much if not more to offer for the casual gamer than competitive, i can still log on and play some of my favorite custom maps, and single player was certainly casual.

      it doesnt need to be dumbed down, it only needs to be slowed down and broken in to bite size pieces, which is what single player in blizzard games has always done.

    • Psychopomp says:

      “A new sport forms its own competitive players, it doesn’t drag in football players and force them to play the game.”

      A new sport forms its own comp players to the levels of a well established sport? There aren’t many professional gamers in the first place.

      By the way, there are competitive communities for each and every one of those games. I’m convinced your definition of “dumbed down” is “it’s not my precious Starcraft.” If you, y’know, would actually take the time to throw out your preconceptions, sit down and play other RTS;s you’d see that many of them (Especially the ones you mention) are just as deep as Starcraft.

    • Nesetalis says:

      I’m not sure how you can say that, seeing as I /have/ played them, and found them rather.. ahem.. simplified.

      Dawn of War II however struck me as not a RTS in the first place, but a RPG from 3rd person… and entirely easy…

      I never once died, never once lost, never once met a point where I had actual trouble. not in any of those games… Starcraft multiplayer? yes, I had trouble, the learning curve is a bit steep to start, and you have to lose alot before you get good enough to win once in a while.

      another good (but more recent) competitive game is TF2, different genra, but its a good example.

      its highly competitive, its difficult to get good at, its one I would say, isnt dumbed down. There is alot of nuance to the game, tactics to learn, let alone the maps and items/abilties (which they like to keep pulling the floor out from under you, with updates)

      there isnt been a game I found difficult in the RTS Genra in ages. Many /were/ fun, but they didnt take me more than a day to master.

    • Psychopomp says:

      …did you seriously just compare RTS single player to multiplayer?

    • woppin says:

      You were making some sense there until you put forth TF2 as a good competitive game. TF2 had random damage that meant, for example, two scouts shooting each other directly in the face could kill in 2 or 3 shots, which in a tight game is the difference between victory and defeat. TF2 competition is nowhere near what CS and Q3 became, but that was never it’s real market, it’s best played in pub.

      @Pomp

      DoW2 has a dead competitive scene because it simplified things to the point where there wasn’t a whole lot of interesting strategy going on, the CnC series was neglected after launch, SupCom was just a spamfest with very little interesting strategic choice going on at the top level, DoW1 and CoH were destroyed by poor expansions that screwed up balance.

      Blizzard are the only company that has done competitive RTS properly, Relic have made great games – Homeworld, CoH and DoW are all great series – but none of them have cut it competitively.

      “If you, y’know, would actually take the time to throw out your preconceptions, sit down and play other RTS;s you’d see that many of them (Especially the ones you mention) are just as deep as Starcraft.”

      Actually I’ve played all of them, and none of them are as deep as Starcraft. Not even in the same order of magnitude.

  16. Sweedums says:

    this strikes me as the Armed Assault of the RTS genre, undeniably brutal, and yet unbelieveably satisfying if you can be bothered with it…

    i loved the first game, so im buying it whatever happens, and as far as i can see, its looking great so far

  17. Micah S. says:

    Wow, that article is more or less exactly why I don’t care about SCII. Have fun being zerg rushed to the ringing ‘keke’ of you opponents. I’ll stick to games that don’t require 2+ freaking actions a second for 30 min at a time.

    • Thants says:

      Playing a game of Starcraft requires 2+ actions a second the same way playing a game of basketball requires you to be 6’5.

  18. Alaric says:

    LOL! You know what you guys sound like? =)

    Oh sure, I have nothing against SCII. Some of my best friends are SCII. But… you know… I wouldn’t want my sister marrying one…

    It’s like you don’t want to admit that you hate it (possibly because it would be considered bad form here to bash one of the influential ancestors of PC gaming) but at the same time you wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near it.

    Personally I enjoy it so far. And no I’m not good, and I can’t do 100 APM. =) I only played the singleplayer campaign of the original, and I am generally not a multiplayer kind of guy. But it’s not that bad. Actually its pretty fun, you know…

    Not saying you all should love it, but you seem to be afraid of it because there are many good players out there and you don’t want to lose to them. I think it’s cool to lose. Of course it’s cooler to win, but still. I lost 4 out of 5 games in the novice league, and then a few in the next step. And my last game I won by using a tactic that was used to defeat me in the previous game. Good times! =)

    Seriously, give it a chance. You don’t need to compete, you can just have fun. =)

    Cheers! =)

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      Okami says:

      Starting your post with a LOL and using five smileys in your post isn’t going to convince me to get my ass handed to me online by some guy half my age…

  19. Jeremy says:

    It really is kinda like a sport in a way, or at least, you should approach it like that so you don’t get discouraged. For instance, I enjoy playing a bit of football (US) or football (EU), however, I’m obviously not going to be playing professionally. If I played football(EU) with top level European players, I would probably get frustrated and never want to play (that is if I wasn’t so in awe of being around them)… but I have a lot of fun playing with my friends, because its competitive. I’ll approach SC2 the same way, I’ll play pick up games with friends from time to time, and it will be fun and competitive, but I’m certainly not going to jump into the pro league.

  20. clockwerkgoblin says:

    I’m pretty sure that there are many DoW1-2, SupC, Battleforge, C&C and *insert random mutliplayer RTS here* players around, who can beat your ass in 1v1 without you even knowing what the hell is happening, you are getting rushed in minutes, your army is crushed in seconds, and so on, just like many players are experiencing SC2 beta right now. StarCraft only needs more clicking and attention on your side because people actually care about it enough to improve themselves into professional levels, and theyre not getting bored of it. It is absolutely possible to play SC2 in a slower pace, without much micro, you just need an opponent of the same level you are. Many of the beta players were waiting for the game for years, knowing all of the units in advance, even discussing possible strategies. With the launch and the increasing skill-scale of opponents, matchmaking will make the game comfortable even for beginners.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    I don’t like the negativity that creeps up around Starcraft 2. But I guess it’s Blizzards own fault for starting with a multiplayer beta. You have to remember, that most people played Starcraft and Warcraft 3 not for their multiplayer, but for their singleplayer and the mods. I bet more people play DotA than play Warcraft 3 multiplayer. And last time I checked DotA was only roughly 1/3 of the custom games played on Battle.net.

    Just go on Battle.net in Warcraft 3, join a random channel and check the stats of everyone and which level they are. Most people aren’t even level 10, and have probably played less than 20 games of regular Warcraft 3 multiplayer. Guess what they have been playing all these years instead. That’s right, mods.

    So what I’m saying is: don’t judge Starcraft 2 by it’s multiplayer. The singleplayer will be crucial, and then the mods will determine if the game remains successful.

  22. pkt-zer0 says:

    So, why could this article not have been written by someone not rubbish? I’d think that’d be slightly more informative. You know, games journalism instead of blogging? Something like that.

    • Premium User Badge

      Sagan says:

      a) The article is written for regular people. It’s likely that this is going to be their experience if they were to play in the Starcraft 2 beta.

      b) Why is blogging not games journalism? Rock, Paper, Shotgun is a blog as far as I’m aware of the definitions.

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      I simply love how it’s implied that “regular” people can’t play SCII.

      I’m regular people, and I kicked ass at it from the get go. I’m not at all good at it compared to the top players, but compared to the general populace in the beta, I’m decent. For the record, I hated WC3 (because of the heroes), and I haven’t played SC in several years.

      Now, my theory is that Alec and the rest of you wussies simply suck at games that are a bit more hardcore than your average browser flash game, and it is because you simply have strayed too far away from gaming proper. I suggest you start out with going through all the Mario games and work your way up with proper games up until the present, just to get your priorities straight. Gaming is, in part, about pressing buttons precisely and sometimes fast. If you can’t handle simplistic gaming like SCII — the mindboggingly miniscule effort it takes to learn it bearing in mind — you’re not much of a gamer. And I mean that.

      I mean, what the hell are you even talking about? SCII hard? Did three entire decades of games simply slip your mind?

      It boggles the mind that something as simple as SCII gets an even worse treatment than Gulty Gear and BlazBlue. Especially when it’s not true. SCII isn’t hard. And I feel rather ridiculous for sounding like some parent pleading to their offspring to simply try again, knowing they will fare better a second time. Grown men having played far worse games than this should bloody well know this. Giving up even before you started is laughable, gentlemen. Laughable. You should be ashamed.

    • Alec Meer says:

      “I simply love how it’s implied that “regular” people can’t play SCII.”

      No, it isn’t. It clearly and repeatedly says it’s a matter of choosing to learn or not. But well done you for being incredible right off the bat!

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      @ Kakksakkamaddafakka – you know, it would have been easier just to write “lol noobs”.

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      If it had only been so simple.

      … actually, wait, it is. Guess what I did to become such a pro. I actually played the game for a couple of hours instead of moaning about how hard it is.

      Like I said, I’m not at all good at the game, but I still have averaged more wins than losses in the games I’ve played. It’s as simple as that I’ve bothered figuring out the mechanics (it takes literally something like five games), something people like Alec haven’t done.

      This wouldn’t have bothered me if it wasn’t blatantly obvious that Alec didn’t even try.

      Why not just go out and say it? You had something against the game when you started playing, and you didn’t bother to give it a fair chance. Not the game, not the matchmaking system. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. After all, we all know what SC2 is, you could easily have made this into a personal piece.

      It bothers me that there are so many obvious errors in the article. For instance, if you had bothered to do some research you would have found out that most people in the upper half of most of the ladders have APM’s of far less than a hundred (watch some of the streams out there, watch some replays — only the former competetive SC players have insane APM). Why misinform about having to be some killer Korean on speed to have any chance at winning any game on Battle.net? If you’d really tried it, you would have noticed that it doesn’t take all that much to win a game. Instead you go on about completely ludicrous scenarios where you somehow just figured out the mechanics of stealth? Give me a goddamn break. This isn’t catering to regular people, it’s presenting completely obvious things as if they were enigmas that needs hyper-intelligence to figure out. I’m sorry, but I get annoyed at writing like this, because it’s so obviously done in an dishonest mode. Why try hiding that you dislike it, and didn’t really try it on for size, behind some fantasy that it’s impossible? Be honest about it, and say it out loud, say you didn’t fancy SC2, and say why. Say it’s boring, bland and been done before, whatever, I don’t care, just as long as you don’t explicitly show that you haven’t really played it, and then blaming your lack of enthusiasm on the level of skill one needs to be at to be able to have fun with the game, when clearly the case is that you haven’t got the experience needed to make that judgement.

      It’s as simple as that. I don’t expect much from someone giving impressions on a game, but one of my expectations is that the person had the intention of giving the game a fair chance, and actually played it. If that expectation is broken, I want a reason, I want honesty, not a writer trying to hide that fact that he didn’t bother with the game. Alec might had good reasons for not bothering, now we’ll never know. That’s chiefly my problem with the piece.

  23. ChaosSmurf says:

    Ghosts, while able to turn invisible themselves, cannot detect other invisible units in the current StarCraft II beta build.

    Ravens can, for T, as can one of the abilities of their command centre upgrade.

  24. LintMan says:

    Anyone know if the single player will still allow you to slow it down and give orders while paused? I’m pretty sure Starcraft allowed that, but for some stupid reason a lot of more modern single player RTS’s don’t. SC2 multiplayer sounds horrible to me, but it I can slow it down and give orders while paused in the campaign, I’d still be willing to give it a go.

    • Severian says:

      I agree. I loved Rise of Nations because I could adjust the speed of play (including full-on pause) on the fly. I like to play single-player RTS’s on hard difficulty usually, but only if I can get away with pausing/thinking/strategizing.

    • halftthought says:

      Are you somehow implying that people who play without pauses aren’t thinking? Thats a joke right? So people who are doing the same tactics you are doing at a real time level on “fastest” are intellectually inferior to you has to pause for five seconds to “strategize” a flank?

    • Azradesh says:

      I don’t think you can pause to give orders in Starcraft 1 single player, I think it was TA that let you do that. But I don’t think you will need to pause the single player game to order units in Starcraft 2. It’s not like th multiplayer and you can slow the game speed to your level.

    • Severian says:

      @halfthought

      Whoa, slow down there, big guy. Would it make you happier, if I said, “… get away with more leisurely thinking/strategizing”? Hope so, ’cause that’s all I meant.

  25. halftthought says:

    I think its funny how PC gamers are complaining a game is too hard and it should be dumbed down to cater to the masses with lower attention span.

    Isn’t this what you cry about every other game? I for one appreciate that blizzard is keeping towards its core values of a deep, complex, and utterly brutal competitive experience. Its a BF2, not a MW2 with the regenerating health garbage and teamplay utterly removed.

    • Premium User Badge

      dog says:

      i think you’re reading what you want to hear into peoples posts…

      i don’t think anyone has said its a bad thing… the majority of people simply don’t seem to be that much into the real intense multi-tasking that StarCraft 1 and 2 require… but i think every post has said it in a postiive way : i’m not that much into it, but its great these games are there for those that do…

      i’m in the same boat : i love games, but i’m not competitive or dedicated enough to want to get into playing something like this online… but would i want them to dumb it down and console-ify it to make it more accessible? absolutely not…

  26. halftthought says:

    Also, to people who say “lul its a clickathon” ask yourself why is that bad (other then you don’t have the attention span to concentrate for a 10-25 minute game). I’m pretty sure any human being who isn’t brain dead is able to click on their mouse button 3-4 times a second. Getting 400 -apm doesn’t mean they are simply better at clicking, it means that they are processing what to do next four to five times faster then you are.

    • Lemon scented apocalypse says:

      Sweet lord and mary: someone seems to have got up on the wong side of bed this morning.
      People are entiled to their opinions, as are you. Relax and enjoy this shiny website and let not the bitter barbs of tabasco fury leak and stain our milk white electo-bibs

    • Nesetalis says:

      the comment sounded quite reasoned and rational to me O.o

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      No, it means they’ve devoted enough time to learning the game structures to be able to make 400 meaningful actions in a minute.

      I could start up SCII and click on a unit 400 times in a minute until someone came over and beat me, but that’s not the point. The point is that the APM required to be competitive is an indication of a) the complexity of the game and b) the amount of time required to learn the game to a sufficient level to be competant at dealing with that complexity.

      And all people are saying is that they’re not interested in devoting that sort of time to a game. No need to get defensive about it or demean the intelligence of people who don’t love the same things you do.

    • halfthought says:

      Well, it was more a less a response to the people who make stupid comments like “lol its a clickathon”.

      Clicking isn’t the hard part. Anyone can click really fast. Clicking really fast is the expression of understanding and mastering the game to the point where your able to make four meaningful actions per second.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Carra says:

    If the single player game is on the SC1/WC3 level everyone will have something to do.

    Makes me curious what Blizzard pulled out of their sleeves in these last five years.

    • Tei says:

      I will pretend is a RPG, and probably I will love it that way.

    • Nesetalis says:

      wont have to pretend… some one will make an RPG :P they made them for Sc1 and WC3… I LOVE some of the RPG games (with save codes :P)

  28. MrSafin says:

    Err… why are you saying that article is written by someone who’s rubbish? Your comment is junk.

  29. ctrle says:

    “stealth-detecting units (Ghosts, in the Terran’s case)”

    No.

  30. the wiseass says:

    I don’t get it. On the one side, everybody and their moms are pissing their panties from excitement because of Starcraft 2 but on the other side, nobody seems to actually want to play this game. I know Starcraft is a pretty competitive game, but that’s the whole crux of it, it’s perfect balance.

    Have we gotten dumber these past years or why is there so much hate for this game all of a sudden? It was pretty clear from the beginning that Blizzard was not going to sway too far away from the original. So please tell me, what made the first Starcraft such a huge success if everybody is lamenting not that it’s successor is too close to the original formula?

    Yes this game will be tough, yes it will be brutal and yes it will be hard on newbies. I think we’ve gotten the message already, so why not start focusing on the actual game and gameplay instead of lamenting it’s competitive nature over and over again?

    To be honest, would you complain about an FPS being too hard, well knowing that you simply suck at playing FPS? Can we really complain about an FPS requiring lightning fast reflexes in order to be successful at the game? Can we complain about Simulations that they are too complex? I don’t really think so at least not without betraying the core gameplay of these games.

    To put it short: It’s frikkin’ Starcraft 2, what did you expect?!

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Maybe because people like you seem determined to flame anybody who expresses anything other than slavering devotion to all things Starcraft, and that annoys people who feel their disinterest is reasonably founded?

  31. Sassenach says:

    I think the objection stems not from people who play competively must be able to do things other players do, only much better. Instead that the focus of the game changes to the much villified APM counts and memorised production queues. So much of competitive RTS games can sound ascetic and harsh for something some were expecting to be fun.

    I think it’s a little unfair to dismiss SC2 as a fun game for such people though. It’ll likely be polished to a mirror shine and be a highly competent, if unimaginative, RTS. If you want it to be ultra-competitive it’ll be that too. It’s probably not best for people playing it for fun and people playing it for competition to play each other though.

  32. Janxer says:

    The “do more” part of StarCraft is fairly overestimated.
    Sure, having a lot of units is important, but things like scouting, choosing the correct units and choosing when and where to strike is as much if not more important.
    Your army of 20 ultralisks won’t do shit if they face carriers, for example.

    • bill says:

      That’s ok if you know that carriers beat ultralisks ;-)
      I just build big armies of the coolest looking units, and then get confused about why all my soldiers got killed by a few weenie looking units.

      But then, I never got past mission 4 of starcraft, so i’m not the target audience.
      I haven’t enjoyed a RTS since Warcraft 2, but based on a few comments here, i’m wondering if i should try a few turn-based strategy games.

  33. ybfelix says:

    Will buy for the single player campaign. SC’s campaign has a plot better-written than most RTSs (say, Warcraft 3’s trite fantasy story), or at least that’s how I remembered it.

    I really hope Blizzard doesn’t indulged itself with the vast expanded universe materials of SC too much. The games plus manual should be able to tell a self-contained story and doesn’t force me to check out wikia to know a key sub-plot detailed in graphic novel You Require More Exposition Gas issue 3

  34. Vinraith says:

    I’m not sure what to make of this, really. I enjoyed Starcraft in its day, not for the campaign (the cut scenes were great, but I’m not a fan of cinematic-as-carrot linear RTS campaigns) but for skirmish and mods (and even a little online play, I think it’s the last RTS I actually played adversarial MP with). The campaign is really going to be what determines how much I spend on this one. I appreciate old-school, base-building RTS design (especially with so many RTS’s going with DoW 2 route) but I really prefer strategic context to narrative context in my campaigns. Maybe if it’s non-linear enough, we’ll see.

  35. luckystriker says:

    Reading RPS’ coverage of SC2 and other people’s responses has been eye-opening for me. See, I love SC. I play it regularly. I follow the Korean pro scene just like I do the Premiership or Grand Slam tennis (through the dedication of a few American commentators who upload VODs to Youtube). For me, SC is one of those rare computer games to have transcended its gaming tag. Like Alec said in his preview, it’s a (competitive) sport and I approach it the way I do my tennis.

    What surprises me is how few people get this game game, even on a hardcore gaming site such as this one. Starcraft isn’t about build orders. Nor is it about how fast one can click. These are simply tools that are available in order to be able to express one’s creativity. Just like how fast one can run or one’s technical prowess in executing the perfect crosscourt backhand in tennis. More than any other computer game I’ve played, a player’s personality – his quirks, strengths and weaknesses – is expressed through a mouse and keyboard. Just like Federer and Nadal are utterly different on the court, so is Bisu and Jangbi (2 pro protoss players).

    I don’t have a beta key but from all I’ve seen and read, Starcraft 2 is going to be my kind of awesome. It’s going to be unforgiving and complex to learn. And because of the huge number of improvements and changes over SC1, it’s also going to be utterly different to the original. I can only hope, however, that it’s remains the same in essence.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Granted, but if you want to be good at tennis, to borrow your analogy, you need to learn to hit a backhand, a forehand, a top spin lob, a drop shot, you need to spend months working up the endurance to cover the court, you need to, in other words, WORK DAMN HARD.

      And now you’re telling me that if I want to be any good at a video game, I need to WORK DAMN HARD. And you know, I work hard enough for my job that the last thing I want to do is keep working when I get home.

      So I hope that explains to you my ambivalence toward competitive multiplayer Starcraft, and why regardless of your personal affinity for it, I’ll continue to ignore it because I don’t have the skills and I don’t want them and I don’t care about people who do have them, or even people who like watching people who do have them.

      In that, it’s exactly like tennis…

    • luckystriker says:

      Fair enough drewski. One person’s work is another person’s leisure activity i suppose.

    • Nesetalis says:

      thats forgetting there are courts in the game for people who arnt good at tennis.. theres badminton, theres ping pong, and theres just tossing the ball back and forth without worrying about whether you catch it or not!

      I certainly wont be playing against the Professionals, I dont have the time or energy to get good, but I’ll certainly be enjoying the game at my own pace and in my own way.

  36. MonkeyMonster says:

    So… is it too early to be eating monster munch at this time in the morning?

  37. ShineDog says:

    For me, its not about StarCraft being too hard to play, it’s about me not getting any feeling from starcraft.

    For a long time, I was always irked by games like C&C where your soldiers shot maybe 6 meters in front of them. The scale was always kind of weird and it always pulled me out of the moment. On top of things like missile launchers not hurting riflemen. I always took some issue with the ways RTS games were balanced and conceived, and while I still enjoyed them, i was more into slightly more realistic things like close combat, or TBS games.

    Starcraft is kind of the high king of that kind of game, with soldiers shooting around 3 inches, and Giant starcruisers the size of a ford fiesta. It just never feels like a war is going on, but its not visually abstract enough that I can accept it as just a visualisation of a war. It sits in this weird limbo space that feels like watching different scaled toys being pushed around. It could be the best playing, best balanced game in the world, I have no shit to give, it doesnt inspire me.

    And then along come Relic. Homeworld. An RTS that really sells the nature of its fights. You arent just playing an RTS game, Thats an actual simulated fight in front of you. This continued with Dawn of War and then with CoH they just fucking nailed it.

    Yes, Balance issues abound, but thats a secondary concern to me because This Is War. I am thinking about proper War Things.
    This man is in the open so he is doomed, he hides behind the walla and is protected. Logical concepts are at work.
    This rocket launcher will kill the man it hits. It doesnt turn into a game of rocket sniping infantry because rockets miss and dont shoot often.
    This tank is a motherfucking tank. It barges through walls and makes men burst. It is enormous and terrifying. It laughs at puny bullets. It is a motherfucking Tank.
    It all makes sense. It all feels right. I am excited.

    It felt like such a clear improvement to the RTS formula I was really excited to see it going forward, and while I suppose that SC2 ridicu-zealous fanbase would never have accepted it, I cant look at SC2 and see it as being anything but a step in the wrong direction, RTS wise. It’s doing all the things I was happy to see gone. Guns shooting 3 feet. Arbitrary rules about what hurts what. Works well in the manner of futuro chess type games I suppose, but doesnt actually inspire me. I get no drama from starcrafts world. Theres no fighting.

  38. clive dunn says:

    For the record… bacon Frazzles. The only crisp that 24 hours after eating is still present in your burps. What the fuck is in those things? The pure essence of pig!

  39. Gdog says:

    Shinedog, i completely agree with you.

    This is a very strange problem for me because Im like lucky striker and am hugely involved with the korean and foreign pro scene of starcraft 1.

    Ive just completed the single player again of sc1 and think im going to quit it right now, well after watching the Team Liquid finals this weekend. For those interested in starcraft 1, try watching the finals this weekend at teamliquid.net which is a livestream or do as I do and watch the VODs on youtube account nevake. They are competing for 10 000 dollars.

    /Off to buy CoH…

  40. Butler` says:

    Much of Alec’s negativity has followed through into his readership I see. :\

  41. halfthought says:

    Well, it was more a less a response to the people who make stupid comments like “lol its a clickathon”.

    Clicking isn’t the hard part. Anyone can click really fast. Clicking really fast is the expression of understanding and mastering the game to the point where your able to make four meaningful actions per second.

    • halfthought says:

      god dammit -_-.

      ignore this, this was suppose to be a reply.

      RPS is so confuzzling.

  42. undead dolphin hacker says:

    lol, it’s a clickathon.

  43. plant42 says:

    As a person that’s had to deal with repetitive stress injury in the past, clicking is the hard part. I can’t even really consider playing a game where 100 orders/minute is a baseline, that will just shred my wrist in a few hours. I’m sure the fun is in there somewhere, but I could do without that level of clicking.

  44. august says:

    I would like to make a controversial statement: this game looks pretty fun.

  45. FieryBalrog says:

    Do you know why casuals love Dawn of War and Company of Heroes? Not for any strategy, no casual is owning it up online with superior strategies. In fact most people have only the vaguest of notions of what strategy is, usually formed by playing chess, a game where strategy requires a great deal of cerebral thought during the game. (what people don’t realize is that in a game like Starcraft, most of the cerebral thought occurs [i]outside[/i] the game.

    In fact, Dawn of War and Company of Heroes are failures in that regard; they are strategically quite shallow, with easily optimized move orders, so the games become “solved” very quickly. That’s why the competitive community is so dead for games like this.

    The reason casuals love these games so much is because they are much more cinematic experiences. You have men taking cover on their own, fights look “realistic”, its quite a marvelous toy. And that’s what the casual player wants, a cinematic experience, not a ball-bustingly hard competitive game.

  46. theSAiNT says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Casual players want cinematics. It explains why quicktime events have become so popular in mainstream games despite being a stupid, uninteresting mechanic. ‘Press X now and we will show you the cutscene where you win this game. Fail to press X now and we will show you the other cutscene where you don’t’.

    SC2 isn’t aimed at casuals.

    What I’d say though is that it’s trying to appeal to them. There are pretty models and flashy explosions. There are awesome units which feel chunky and strong. And these might be enough to interest the ‘casual’ player to try the game and discover a BETTER gaming experience.

    Because I do believe that deep strategic games are more fun for EVERYBODY than watching a nice interactive cutscene. Using a DoW analogy, imagine a child who has been given a set of Warhammer 40k models. Well painted sets are quite impressive looking and he could play with them and concoct huge interplanetary battles for his models to wage. it would be fun no doubt and keep him entertained for hours. But now consider that he was one day given the rules for War40k. Has he not found a better game? Even though it’s hard to quantify fun, I daresay he’d be having more of it than before.

    Welcome to Starcraft (2).

    • Tei says:

      “You’ve hit the nail on the head. Casual players want cinematics. It explains why quicktime events have become so popular in mainstream games despite being a stupid, uninteresting mechanic. ‘Press X now and we will show you the cutscene where you win this game. Fail to press X now and we will show you the other cutscene where you don’t’.

      SC2 isn’t aimed at casuals. ”

      Strategy games on the PC use to have some real meat. Cover mechanics, line of sight, hexes, unit stats. The RTS genre was a dumbification of all of this, in favor of explosions and cute small soldiers doing nice animations, all in real time.
      Casuals can’t cope with Hexes, and play RTS games instead.

      Theres (always) a second factor that make that casual genres (like RTS’s) gets hardcore again trough a process of hardcorification. So Starcraft is a hardcorification of a RTS genre. Is not the source material (theres no decent cover mechanic, overeating mechanci, moral effect on accuracy, et all.) has become a game of fitness, exactitude and speed using a keyboard. The children of “Math Attack” and “Brain Training”. Can you remenber exact typestrokes process? these grind mechanics are exactly the type of things a computer can do better than a human. I suppose people like to play these games because is somewhat like a “zen exercise”, aka, mindless grinding. As a westerner myself, I would replace all these stuff by a tiny perl script and go. I would be curious to see how the SC community react to a player using a bot to manage the build order and base deployement.
      So, what is my opinion of a game that seems designed to be easy to be played by 4004 CPU?, that It could be hardcore, but only hardcore in a way that machines and korean can appreciate.

    • theSAiNT says:

      Much has been made of APMs and build orders. They do make SC more difficult than if it was a more modern game. I agree with you. But they are really not what makes SC hardcore. You are wrong.

      SC is hardcore because of its strategic depth.

      With regards to ‘cover mechanic, overeating mechanci, moral effect on accuracy, et al’, partially, you don’t appreciate the full extent to which these are actually central to SC. For instance, high ground and positional advantage is hard coded into the game. Flanking and surrounding determine the winners or losers in engagements. Although ‘cover’ is not an explicit feature, the mechanics of it operate. For instance, a typical Terran army facing against Protoss will be composed of siege tanks and vultures. The siege tanks are always set up behind the vultures and mines. Why? Because when the Protoss attack, their attacks are soaked by the mass of units in front of the tanks. They provide cover. Interestingly, this is exacerbated by poor unit AI. Often, Terran players will place buildings in front of their units because they will be targeted by bad AI. There are so many other examples I could name.

      Partially, some of these were just deliberately left out. It is a design choice rather than an oversight or ‘dumbification’. Having ‘complicated’ mechanics don’t necessarily make the game ‘deeper’. I’m distinguishing between ‘deep’ and ‘complicated’. Complicated just means difficult to understand or unintuitive. Depth means that there is a wide array of viable strategic choices.

      I hate to use the same analogy twice but nobody would criticize chess for lack of depth yet its mechanics would be in your description, pretty ‘dumbed down’.

    • theSAiNT says:

      Wrt to bots, there’s actually an AI competition being run by UC Santa Cruz. Some details can be found here: http://eis.ucsc.edu/StarCraftAICompetition It is still in progress and its results should be interesting.

      Making bots play games well is surprisingly hard. Even for ‘easy’ games like DoW.